How To Start an Ice Cream Truck

Starting an ice cream truck business can be an exciting and profitable venture. However, it is essential to be prepared and informed to ensure success. Here are some tips for starting your own ice cream truck business:

  1. Choose your vehicle wisely. You will need a truck or van to accommodate all your equipment, including your freezer, generator, and serving window.
  2. Obtain the necessary permits from your local government, including a license to operate your truck and any health permits required. Remember to purchase insurance.
  3. Stock your truck with all necessary supplies, including ice cream, cones, toppings, serving utensils, napkins, and cups.
  4. Create a marketing plan to get the word out about your business. Hand out flyers, advertise online, and participate in local events.

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to starting a successful ice cream truck business.


Are Ice Cream Trucks a Good Business?

Yes, an ice cream truck business can be very profitable. During peak times, the average monthly income is $5,000, calculated based on working 20 days. That means the average yearly income is a whopping $60,000! Plus, it’s fun to enjoy summer days while giving people something they love. If your city or town already has many ice cream trucks, use marketing and promotion to make yours stand out. If you’re organized, passionate, and provide good customer service, your ice cream truck business can be a huge success.

How Much Can You Make With an Ice Cream Truck?

Drivers typically report an income of $5,000 a month, working 20 days a week. However, earnings can fluctuate depending on the weather and location of the truck. On hot days or during peak times like holidays, you can expect to take in $200-300 a day. In contrast, cooler weather or slow periods could result in only a few hundred dollars in sales. A successful ice cream truck business can bring in a healthy return on investment. Just be prepared for some long days in the sun!

How Much Does an Ice Cream Machine Cost?

A good ice cream machine will cost over $200. Compressor models cool the mixture as it churns, producing a smoother, more consistent product instead of requiring a pre-frozen bowl. Investing in a compressor model is worth it if you’re serious about making ice cream at home. However, if you’re only going to make it occasionally, then a bowl model will suffice. Expect to pay at least $100 for a decent ice cream maker.

How Do Ice Cream Trucks Keep Ice Cream Cold?

Ice cream trucks use a Cold Plate Freezer, with plates inside the walls that are chilled overnight to a temperature of -20 degrees Fahrenheit. This process creates a large amount of ice, which helps to keep the inside of the freezer incredibly cold. As long as the freezer remains plugged in, the ice cream will stay frozen, even on the hottest days.

How Do You Turn a Van Into an Ice Cream Truck?

Turning a van into an ice cream truck is relatively simple:

  1. Cut a serving window into the van’s side.
  2. Install a freezer and inverter to chill the ice cream products.
  3. A new paint job or vehicle wrap can attract attention and boost sales.

Any van can be turned into a delicious ice cream truck with little effort.

Do You Need a Permit for an Ice Cream Van?

When operating an ice cream van, it is essential to understand the regulations regarding street trading licenses. Ice cream vans can trade without a permit, subject to certain restrictions. However, the government is considering new rules which may require all ice cream van operators to obtain street trading licenses.

Current Regulations 

At present, itinerant ice cream vendors may stop for up to 15 minutes to serve customers before moving on. They may only return to the same street within the same day if street trading is not allowed. These rules may change soon, pending a government decision.

Controversy Surrounding New Regulations 

While some believe that requiring all ice cream van operators to obtain street trading licenses will help regulate the industry and ensure food safety, others argue that it will create an additional layer of bureaucracy and make it more difficult for small businesses to operate. As the consultation regarding this matter is ongoing, the outcome remains to be seen.

Obtaining Permits 

While the new regulations still need to be in effect, it is essential to research the rules and requirements for operating an ice cream van in your area. Contact your local council to determine if you require a permit to begin your ice cream van business.


An ice cream van business can be lucrative, particularly during summer. By researching costs, obtaining necessary permits, and selecting an optimal location, you can launch your business and begin serving customers in no time.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.